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July 11th, 2021

Sunday Gunday: Multi-State Varmint Adventures with Bill White

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger
This photograph and all images for this story are by Bill White, aka “CT10Ring” in our Forum.

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 RugerAccurateShooter Forum member Bill White (aka “CT10Ring”) is not your typical member. For 37 years, Bill worked in NYC as a studio photographer specializing in still lifes and products. A neighbor visiting Bill’s home in Connecticut with a .270 Sako inspired Bill to revive his interest (obsession?) with shooting after a 25-year drought. And he owns a few Sakos now! With his gun hobby renewed, for many years Bill drove to the Western USA to shoot long range steel and a LOT of prairie dogs in season. He loved the life of the varminter, so it made sense for him to move West after retiring. He choose Idaho as his new home.

From his Idaho base, Bill enjoys long-range target shooting. But his favorite gun pastime has been varmint hunting in nearby states — the Dakotas, Montana, and Wyoming. Bill found prairie dog shooting rewarding and mapped out a western circuit route of ranches and National Grasslands in SD, ND, MT, and WY. Every year he loads up his truck and hits the road, often doing a grand circle route, visiting prairie dog havens in multiple states. In this article we feature photos from Bill’s annual “grand circle” varmint safari.

For his many cartridge types, Bill learned about reloading methods, loads, and vendors (and more) primarily from AccurateShooter.com. We start today’s story with the biggest caliber rifle he shoots regularly, his 6.5-284 Winchester. Bill favors this rig for his long-range steel shooting. He also uses it for prairie dog shooting, but only “sparingly”, because he wants to preserve barrel life, and he has many other dedicated varmint rigs.

6.5-284 for Long Range Steel Targets (and Sometimes Varmints)

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger

In his home state of Idaho, Bill likes to shoot steel at long range. For distance work, Bill favors his McMillan-stocked 6.5-284 Win. This rifle was crafted in 2012 by Bob Green of York, PA, using a 1:8″-twist 28″ Krieger HV barrel (.298″ neck). The trued Rem 700 action was purchased from Long Rifles in Sturgis, SD. Bill did the Cerakote and bedded the action. For his 6.5-284, Bill loads 139gr Lapua Scenars, H4831sc powder and BR2 primers. He shoots both steel and varmints with this rifle, but the varmint work is limited because the 6.5-284 cartridge tends to be a barrel burner. The photo below from an Idaho range was taken near a 500-yard target, looking back at the firing line.

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger
Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger

In the Varmint Fields — Traveling Light

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger

Once situated, Bill (shown above) prefers to walk to Prairie Dog towns with a shooting mat, two bipod-equipped rifles slung up, rear bag, water, and his trusty Leica 10X42 GeoVid binoculars. While he has used a portable bench, he prefers to shoot from bipod, firing down from a mound if possible. This allows him to set up a line-of-fire that minimizes cross-wind effects. Bill notes: “While I often start early, end-of-day shooting has worked worked well for me. A setting sun shows targets better, the wind is usually down, and it’s not so hot. Often you can spot the bullet trace and that’s fun.”

Eight Great Varmint Cartridge Types — .204, .224, .243 Calibers

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger
Here is one of Bill Reid’s 6mmBR (6BR) rigs. Like his Sako 6 PPC, this is exceptionally accurate.

Bill has a large rifle collection, most of which see duty in the varmint fields of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. Here are his key “take-aways” for his eight favorite varmint chamberings: .204 Ruger, .223 Rem, .22-250, .22 BR, .22-243, 6 PPC, 6mmBR, and 6-6.5×47 Lapua (aka 6×47).

.204 Ruger — This delivers great velocity with the little .20-caliber bullets, with mild recoil. The .204 Ruger easily reaches out to 400 yards, but heavier winds do move the tiny bullet around. Tremendous splat factor under 250 yards. I use Sierra 39gr bullets with IMR 8208 XBR in a Sako 75. Even now, .204 Ruger ammo is relatively easy to find.

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger

.223 Remington — Probably the most popular centerfire rifle round in the USA, the .223 Rem offers inexpensive brass, and is a great choice for AR-15 owners. If you run short on ammo, you can find it nearly everywhere. I often bring one AR-15 and one .223 Rem bolt gun on varmint safaris. My Rem 700 5R 1:9″-twist barrel likes 53gr V-Max bullets.

.22 BR — My .22 BR is my first choice for most prairie dog missions. Accuracy is superb with necked-down 6mmBR Lapua brass — quarter-MOA and blazing fast. With the right twist rate, this chambering can shoot anything from 40gr FB bullets to 80gr VLDs. Load development is easy. Below is my .22 BR ammo for another varmint trip. I use 55gr Sierra BlitzKings with Varget in my 1:12″-twist Shilen-barreled rifle. 60gr Bergers are very accurate with a fairly flat trajectory for useful distances.

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger

.22-250 Rem — A classic varmint cartridge, the .22-250 with 50gr V-Maxs delivers spectacular hits. If three P-Dogs happen to be lined up, I’ve witnessed one .22-250 shot take ‘em all out with a triple hit. I currently have five .22-250-chambered rifles: 3 Sako 75s, one Rem 700, and a single shot Nesika that shoots tiny groups. I favor the very deadly Berger 52gr Varmint HP. Making a custom .22-250? With a 1:8″-twist barrel you can use the full weight range of .22-cal bullets, while spinning the lighter bullets fast for “red mist” effect. Remember this cartridge can be a barrel burner. Don’t shoot too many rounds too quickly.

.22-243 Win — This wildcat is even more potent than the .22-250, delivering devastating results on P-Dogs. Run a .243 Win case slowly through a full-length .22-243 die, with plenty of lube to form the brass. I start with Lapua .243 Win brass. There can be some issues necking-down the brass. Watch for donuts forming at the neck-shoulder junction. I bought my .22-243 rifle not sure how it would perform. But now I love shooting it. My .22-243 delivers half-MOA groups with 41.0 grains RL-22 and Hornady 75gr Amax bullets. With those 75-grainers, it’s great in the wind and good to 600 yards easily.

6 PPC — You may consider the 6 PPC a benchrest competition cartridge only, requiring fire-forming. However I have an original Sako 75 single-shot 6 PPC rifle that I load with Sako-headstamp 6 PPC brass (see below) so no fire-forming is required. This Sako 75 came with a test target that measured 0.113″! With my 6 PPC Sako, I found that 58gr V-Maxs, pushed by Vihtavuori N133, are potent out to 300 yards.

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6PPC 6 PPC Sako 75 Ruger

6mmBR — The 6mmBR Norma (6BR) offers a nearly unbeatable combination of accuracy, efficiency, and tunability. With the 6BR and a fast twist barrel, you can shoot everything from 40gr flat-base bullets to the latest 105-110gr match bullets. I load Lapua brass, Vihtavuori N135, and Hornady 58, 65, and 75gr bullets for my Krieger 1:14″-twist HV barrel. While this cartridge is capable of long-range accuracy, I usually limit my 6BR shots to 350-400 yards.

6-6.5×47 Lapua — In this story’s lead photo is my 6-6.5×47 Lapua varmint rifle, with Surgeon action and Manners stock. I Cerakoted the barreled action and then bedded the action. Shown below is 6-6.5×47 ammo I loaded for recent testing. Note how I separated different bullets and powder loads into multiple, labeled bags. Hodgdon H4350 is a great choice for this cartridge — 39 grains H4350 with 105gr Amax was the winner here, but 88gr Bergers also shot well. This cartridge has tremendous “critter dismantling” abilities out to 600-700 yards.

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger

Six Tips for Novice Long Range Varmint Hunters

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger

1. Take twice as much ammo you think you may need. The fields could be particularly rich, or, because of wind or other variables, you may have far more misses than expected.

2. When possible, set up with the wind at your back (or, alternatively, directly ahead). This will minimize the effect of cross-winds. Set up a stake with a ribbon to show wind direction.

3. Bring at least two rifles. Ideally one would be a low-recoil rifle with cheaper components for the closer shots. Then bring a rifle with higher-BC bullets for longer shots where wind is a bigger factor.

4. Check the weather before you head out. Prairie dogs like sunshine and calm conditions. If a cloudy, very blustery day is predicted, considering staying in town and cleaning the rifles.

5. Bring plenty of water on a trip. An adult male should be drinking at least 64 ounces of water (or other liquid) every day — more if it’s very hot or you are sweating a lot.

6. Preferably always hunt with a companion. If you do go out solo, have a Garmin inReach SatComm/GPS for emergencies if there is no cell coverage in your location.

Veteran Varmint Hunter Shares his Secrets

Where to Find Abundant Prairie Dogs — Generally, black-tailed P-Dogs are found in the Western high desert, in the same states/areas where cattle are raised. You’ll find good hunting in Montana, North and South Dakota, Colorado, and Wyoming. There are good hunting grounds on private ranches, BLM tracts, and U.S. National Grasslands. To find specific locations, I’d suggest calling the USFS, BLM, and State Fish & Game. Some have lists of ranches that allow P-Dog shooting. Give the agencies a call before your trip and then check in with ranchers. IMPORTANT: You need a current hunting license in some states.

How to Connect with Ranch Owners– A good varmint adventure can begin with a local connection. Stop into the local Ag/feed store and the town breakfast spot. I bet you’ll find some retired ranchers having coffee together who may direct you to a place that needs rodents thinned out. Let’s say you’re in Roundup, Montana. Stop by a local store and ask what ranchers allow PD shooting. Keep in mind that ranchers may be wary of allowing a total stranger to sling lead on their place. Show respect and if you had a good experience, send a thank-you note. A guided shoot is worth considering — the outfitter will know where the P-Dogs are and he has arrangements with landowners. He may even supply benches. I’ve taken two guided trips, with excellent results, one near Sturgis, SD, and the other on Sioux tribal land near Rosebud, SD.

Getting Set Up — I start early in the a.m. to mitigate mirage. Plus there is usually less wind at that hour. I prefer to drive to within half mile or so of a PD town, then walk and shoot prone. Most shooters like to set up a rotating bench on a knoll. This is a tried-and-true way to shoot long distances accurately, especially if you are on top of a hill and can shoot 360 degrees. I once shot from a rotating bench, but I prefer walking now. Some country is quite stunning and that’s half the fun — being out in nature. But yes there are negatives to shooting prone — ground hazards and tall grass can impede your vision.

Equipment for a Serious P-Dog Safari — In the field, I normally carry two rifles with Harris 9-13″ bipods, backpack, a rolled-up shooting mat, at least two liters of water, food, ammo, two rear bags, and binoculars. A good laser rangefinder comes in handy. If you prefer shooting from a bench you may want to have a front rest and a spotting scope. Many guys will shoot prone from the bed of a truck. That gets you off the ground without the need to haul around a heavy bench. But some locations restrict vehicles. Before a P-Dog trip, I make a detailed pack list and check off as I load my truck and camper. I would suggest bringing waterproof rubber or muck boots. June in South Dakota can be cold and wet, and the mud there is not to be believed. Don’t attempt to drive off road in it!

It’s good insurance to bring an extra 5 gallons of fuel for your vehicle in a jerry can and 2 gallons of H20. There may be NO shade for miles and dehydration is a real possibility. Having a couple heavy duty tarps will provide a sun shade and cover your gear in a rainstorm. I bring a 16″ X 20″ plywood target backer, a stand, and paper targets. This allows me to check zero on each rifle before I head out to the Dog Town.

Western Varmint Country Vistas

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger
Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger
Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger

Taking Photos on Shooting Adventures

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 RugerBill knows a thing or two about taking pictures, having been a professional photographer in NYC for many decades. He uses modern digital cameras for both his outdoor and indoor work. Most photos in this story were taken with a Canon EOS 5DSR MKIV. We asked Bill for some tips on taking good photos. Here are his FIVE Top Tips for Photography:

1. Take photos in the early a.m. and later p.m. when the light has definition. Mid-day results will not be so nice.
2. Use the highest-resolution camera available that fits your budget. Yes lens quality, focus, and exposure controls make a big difference.
3. When feasible, shoot using a manual setting with the lens wide open (for shallow focus). Set the focus on the most important object/subject in the frame.
4. Photoshop is useful, especially when RAW images need to be corrected to show the scene more faithfully, or enhance it.
5. After you take a picture, before you post it on social media, learn to crop the image, straighten the horizon, and do other basic fixes. This can make a big difference.

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting 1 Comment »
June 29th, 2021

Varmint Safari Notebook — Tips for a Summer P-Dog Adventure

CFE 223 Powder Varmint Bullet Prairie dog
This custom war wagon hauls varmint hunters around the Longmeadow Game Resort in Colorado.

Will you be heading to the varmint fields this summer? Proper planning is key to a safe, satisfying, and productive varmint holiday. Of course you’ll be busy reloading, but you should make a check-list of all the gear and supplies you need. Bring a variety of rifles if possible — you’ll need to switch off as one barrel gets hot, and the chambering that works best for your close shots may not be ideal for those longer shots out past 400 yards. Here are some tips from our Forum members that can help you shoot more effectively, and avoid problems on your varmint hunt. Here’s one key tip: at your shooting station, put a strip of surveyor’s tape on a tall stake to show the wind direction. Then shoot in the direction the wind blows. This will minimize the effect of cross-winds.

Savage LR Precision Varminter

Varmint Safari Planning, Equipment, and Shooting Advice

From PatchHound: “The gear you bring will make or break a trip out to Prairie Dog land. A lot has to do with where you going and how far you are from [civilization]. For starters, bring lots of water. It will be hot in Wyoming in a few more weeks but it don’t hurt to bring warm clothes in case it snows. It’s best to wear leather boots unless you’re real good at dodging cactus while walking around. Good sunscreen [and a wide-brimmed hat] will save the day too. [What you need to bring] really depends on whether you’re shooting on some friendly ranch or 100 miles in the middle of [a wilderness area]. Good survival gear is a good thing to have for the latter!”

Savage LR Precision Varminter
This photo is from a Dan Eigen TV Show video featuring a P-Dog hunt.

From Stoner25mkiv: “I’d suggest an adjustable bipod if you are going to do any walking. A laser rangefinder is a huge asset. Have a fanny pack or backpack for extra ammo, water, bore-snake, etc. when you go on your walkabouts. We also take a couple pivoting benches, heavy movers’ pad/blanket, sandbags (Uncle Bud’s Bulls Bag) for shooting from near the vehicle. Boonie hat for blocking the sun, sun glasses, sunscreen. High leather boots.

Uncle Bud's Bulls Bag

Anyway, on to the rifles…consider bringing a 17 HMR, .223 Ackley bolt gun, .223 Ackley AR, and a 243 WSSM. Some years the 17 HMR isn’t removed from its case. We had a couple windless days and the 17 was lots of fun. I’d walk into the dogtown and then lay down and wait. After five minutes or so I’d have dogs within easy rimfire range, and out to as far as I’d care to stretch the rimfire. 275 yards was about it.”

From CTShooter: “The .204 [Ruger] is a laser beam and good to 400 yards easy. Forget the rimfire! Do you have a portable bench that pivots? Bring bipod, binocs. Bring a LOT of water. I have a milspec sniper shooter’s mat/drag bag with shoulder straps. It is good to carry everything when you want to wander off and shoot prone with bipod. Here’s a view through my 6BR in ND.”

varmint hunting prairie dog dakota dogtown

From RJinTexas: “In most of the locations that we’ll be shooting we’ll usually set up a minimum of 200 yards from the edge of a major dog town. We’ll start by working over the close-in dogs and shooting our way out, some of these towns may run in excess of 500/600 yards deep. I believe that a rimfire will put you at a distinct disadvantage. The only rimfire that will somewhat work is the 17 HMR and you can reload for your 204s for close to the cost of HMR ammo and you’ll be less apt to be under-gunned. Your 204 will work well out to 300/400 yards unless the wind is blowing hard. We classify a 10-mph crosswind as a very calm day and what makes it a little more challenging is that it is usually also gusting.”

From Wes (P1ZombieKiller): “[For my first PD trip] there are so many things I was not ready for. The one thing that I did bring (that no one told me about) was a canopy. I’m glad I did. Even though the weather was [near perfect], I know that sun can humble you real fast. With my pop-up canopy, I could shoot all day without getting killed by the sun. You had to tie the canopy down real well or the wind would blow it across the pasture.

We sat on shooting benches that pivot 360°, and are fast and easy to set up. Most all shots were 175-250 yards. I just felt comfortable at that range. It was more fun for me to be able to film the hits, and the camcorder I was using just did not get good video past 350 yards. The digital zoom distorted the image too much. I knew I would only get this one chance to film my first P-dog outing, and I wanted to get it on film for [posterity].”

Bring Multiple Rifles on Your Varmint Adventures

On our P-Dog adventures, we like to have multiple rifles — a .17 HMR for close work, then maybe a .20 Practical AR for 150-250 yards, then a larger caliber such as 6BRA, 6 Dasher or 6XC for those long shots. The classic 22-250 is also a wickedly effective varmint cartridge.

Prairie dog adventure varmint hunting

.20 Practical (20-223 Rem) AR-Platform Varminter
Here is a .20 Practical built by Robert Whitley. Whitley’s Ultimate Prairie Dog Rifle (PDR) features a 24″ Bartlein 11-twist cut-rifled barrel, DPMS side-charging upper, and a Jewell trigger. It is chambered in 20 Practical, a cartridge popularized by Warren “Fireball” Brookman.

varmint hunting prairie dog dakota dogtown

This .20 Practical cartridge is simply the .223 Remington necked down to .204. You can use your existing .223 Rem brass — no special case-forming required! The 20 Practical is accurate, flat-shooting, and has almost no recoil. The advantage over the standard .223 Remington is that, grain for grain, the bullets have a higher BC and travel at a higher velocity for more dramatic effect on a small varmint. The ultra-low recoil allows you to easily see your hits, even without a muzzle brake. The 20 Practical, launching 40-grainers at about 3750 fps, shoots flatter than a .223 Rem with 55gr hollowpoints.

.17 HMR Savage A17 Varmint Rifle
We also like to have a Rimfire for the closer shots, inside 150 yards. The .17 HMR or .17 WSM are good choices. With a rimfire you save on ammo costs and you don’t waste precious centerfire barrel life.

This video shows a successful Prairie Dog hunt with a .17 HMR. Watch and you’ll see hits out to 160 yards (00:50), proving the effective range of the 17 HMR cartridge. The host is shooting a Savage A17 semi-auto 17 HMR rifle in a Boyds laminated stock.

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December 15th, 2020

Holiday Season Deer Hunting with Specialty Pistols

specialty pistol hunting hunt deer wyoming Ernie Bishop handguns

Our friend Ernie Bishop (SEB Rests USA) has been busy in the Wyoming backcountry. Bishop is a big fan of specialty pistols, and one of his favorite XP-100 bolt-action pistols showed its capabilities recently, harvesting a whitetail doe that will provide meat for the Bishop family and friends.

Ernie reports: “Dan Ekstrom and I did some whitetail hunting earlier this week, and tonight our families enjoyed some smoked backstrap and grilled sausage, a bunch of other fixings. We were in the foothills of the Big Horn mountains, outside of Story, Wyoming. Yes, we have whitetail here.”

specialty pistol hunting hunt deer wyoming Ernie Bishop handguns

Ernie’s Remington XP-100 bolt-action pistol features a 14.5″ HS Precision barrel chambered in .308 Winchester, fitted with a Mac’s Gunworks muzzle brake. The scope is a Burris 3-15x50mm XTR2. The field support consists of a BOG Tripod, with the original BOG PSR top and Holland’s small field bag. Ernie reports that, unfortunately, the PSR Top has been discontinued.

The Story of the Successful Whitetail Hunt — Report from the Field
Report by Ernie Bishop
My center-grip .308 Winchester XP-100 drew first blood Friday afternoon (12/11/2020). It was a hurried, double-kneeling short shot at around 50-60 yards, using my BOG tripod with PSR top. I was doing the sneaky sneak on my way to place where I was going to sit for the rest of the day (no artificial blind). The doe was either just coming out of cover or was just inside cover. We seemed to discover each other at about the same time. I was in the open though.

Even though I had the XP-100 in one hand and my BOG tripod in the other, I could not get set up quickly enough to make a shot. She turned around and walked back into cover, and then threw up her flag and waved it a few times going away for me and to the left. Now, I need to get about another hundred yards so I can try to get set up on a two-track that’s going to my right and wait there, hoping that she will cross and give me a shot opportunity. As I was walking faster to get to that spot to set up, I look to my right and there she was (or a different one, I’m not quite sure) just inside cover — basically broadside.

specialty pistol hunting hunt deer wyoming Ernie Bishop handguns

Given the spookiness of these deer here this year, I didn’t think I was going to get a shot opportunity. But you don’t know unless you try, so I kneeled, spread the tripod legs and centered up as quick as I could and took the shot. I didn’t range distance before or check afterwards. The whitetail doe dropped on the spot. The 168 grain Hornady A-MAX TAP Precision .308 Win ammo performed admirably.

specialty pistol hunting hunt deer wyoming Ernie Bishop handguns

Ernie’s Tips for Wyoming Whitetail Hunters
There are two different ways that I hunt this area of Wymoming. First is doing the slow sneaky sneak, which has given some good results, but it also ends up with the “just wasn’t able get it done” before they move into cover (which happened more than one time on Thursday and Friday morning). The second way, is to put yourself in a place to where you have a reasonable view, of where you can tell they have crossed, in semi-open areas. I usually am sitting with my back against a tree.

specialty pistol hunting hunt deer wyoming Ernie Bishop handgunsAbout Ernie Bishop — Specialty Pistol Guru
Ernie tells us: “For those who know of me in the shooting world, you would probably know me in one of two ways — Dealer for SEB Rests or someone who does most of his competing, varminting, and or hunting with specialty pistols. These are typically bolt-action, single-shot rigs that can be used with a bipod. They are similar to a pistol-grip rifle, but without a conventional buttstock. My interest in all things specialty pistols (Remington XP-100, TC Contender, MOA Maximum, Pachmayr Dominator, H-S Precision HSP, etc.) goes back to the early 1980s. Sadly, some of these are no longer made.

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting, Shooting Skills 2 Comments »
March 25th, 2020

Precision Rifle Challenge on Shooting USA This Week

Shooting USA SHOT Show 2019 AccurateShooter

Precision Rifle Challenge on Shooting USA This Week
This week, Shooting USA TV features a show that should interest PRS/NRL fans, tactical marksmen, and long range hunters. Run in Utah’s backcountry, the Hornady Precision Rifle Challenge is a unique long range competition with serious wind and elevation changes. This isn’t a typical PRS Pro Series match by any means. Participants in this challenging Precision Rifle match will have to deal with tough conditions not typically seen in other tactical matches. The match runs in summer in Utah, just across the state line from Evanston, Wyoming. Watch the show 3/25/20 on the Outdoor Channel.

Shooting USA will air Wednesday, March 25, at 9:00 PM Eastern (8:00 PM Central) on the Outdoor Channel. If you miss that, it runs again on Thursday afternoon. Look for Shooting USA on the Outdoor Channel. In addition, you can watch all episodes of Shooting USA on the VIMEO channel by subscription. Each episode is just $0.99, about 1/10th what a movie ticket costs these days.

In addition to the Precision Rifle challenge, this week’s Shooting USA episode features to interesting rifles — one new, one historic.

Shooting USA SHOT Show 2019 AccurateShooterVolquartsen Summit — Toggle Bolt Rimfire Precision Rifle
With the help of Volquartsen, John Scoutten has created a prototype .22 LR Rimfire Precision Rifle based on the toggle-bolt Summit action fitted in a modular chassis.

The Summit’s straight-pull toggle action is similar to the actions on competition Biathlon rifles. This allows very fast cycle times, without disturbing rifle placement. The Summit fits stocks made for the Ruger 10/22 and uses 10/22 magazines. But it’s a manual action, not blow-back semi-auto.

Enfield L42 A1 Sniper Rifle — History’s Guns
This week’s show also features a legendary WWII sniper rifle, Britain’s Enfield L42 A1. This special sniper rig was the last in a long line of military arms built on the famous Enfield .303-caliber bolt action.

Shooting USA SHOT Show 2019 AccurateShooter

Permalink Competition, Hunting/Varminting, News, Tactical No Comments »
October 12th, 2019

Jessie Harrison Bags a Buck in Wyoming’s Bighorn Mountains

Jessie Harrison deer hunting WY Wyoming bighorn big horn outfitters mountains

It’s deer-hunting season throughout the country. The chance to bag a Muley buck drew action-shooting ace Jessie Harrison out to Wyoming’s Bighorn Mountains region. Jessie, who is probably the best lady action pistol shooter on the planet, had a successful hunt with Big Horn Outfitters. Jessie, Shooting Team Captain for Taurus USA, really enjoyed getting out into the Wyoming wilderness. And she got her buck!

Jessie Harrison deer hunting WY Wyoming bighorn mountains

Jessie posted: “To say this hunt was a success would be an understatement. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to Bushnell and Dustin DeCroo at Big Horn Outfitters – Wyoming for this experience. Melissa Gilliland and I are taking home beautiful trophies along with wonderful memories of our adventures. Special thanks to Hunter Phelps for capturing the journey and Brenda Weatherby for joining us to share in the fun!”

Jessie Harrison deer hunting WY Wyoming bighorn mountains
Jessie with Melissa (Missy) Gilliland, Brenda Weatherby, and Guide Dustin DeCroo.

Jessie’s Hunting Gear:

Weatherby Mark V 6.5×300 rifle
Bushell Forge 10×42 and 15×56 binos
Busnell Forge 20-60 spotting scope
Bushnell Forge 3-18 rifle scope
Nitro 1800 Laser Rangefinder
DSG Outerwear — Women’s Hunting Apparel
Mystery Ranch B backpack
Danner Boots

Jessie Harrison deer hunting WY Wyoming bighorn big horn mountains
Here are Jessie and Missy looking for Mule Deer with binoculars and spotting scope.

Jessie Harrison deer hunting WY Wyoming bighorn Big horn mountains

Bighorn National Forest in Wyoming

Other clients of Big Horn Outfitters, based in Buffalo, Wyoming, have been very impressed with the operation, and the quality of the hunting:

“These [Big Horn Outfitters] guys know where the animals are at, what they are doing and will work tirelessly to make sure every hunter gets an opportunity. When your hunt is over the lodging, food and accommodations are all second to none. I can’t recommend these guys enough to anyone looking for a high-quality Western hunt.” — Justin Zarr

“Big Horn Outfitters is a First Class operation from start to finish. Unmatched hospitality, great food, guide knowledge, and most importantly the game was plentiful and of great quality. Big Horn Outfitters treated us like family and went out of their way to ensure we had a great experience.” — Sam W.

Jessie Harrison deer hunting WY Wyoming bighorn Big horn mountains
Eastern slope of the Bighorns above Buffalo, Wyoming. CCA Commons photo by Atkach24.

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting 2 Comments »
July 7th, 2019

Sunday GunDay — 7mm WSM Hunter with Match-Grade Accuracy

wyoming 7mm wsm winchester short magnum elk rifle hunter hunting Win mag

Ric Horst’s 7 WSM is a game-slayer with serious long-range accuracy. Here’s a hunting rifle (with tactical trappings) that performs as well as some purpose-built benchrest rifles, delivering half-MOA ten-shot groups at 1000 yards–from bipod no less! That was noteworthy in itself. But Ric’s rifle, built to take game in Wyoming’s backcountry, also proves the viability of the 7mm Win Short Mag as a true precision cartridge. With the capacity to drive hard-hitting, ultra-high-BC bullets, the 7 WSM is a bonafied rival to the big 30s. This rifle sets a very high bar for long-range hunting rigs.

The Challenge: Creating the Ultimate Long-Range Hunting Rifle

Q: Tell us how you got interested in the 7 WSM and how you got started on this project?

Ric Horst: Chris Matthews and I were invited to help out with a new hunting show on a cable network. We wanted to showcase a rifle that wasn’t typical for the TV program which was about Antelope and Mule Deer hunting in Wyoming. We considered a variety of calibers, but then Sierra announced their new 175gr (.284) MatchKing and that got our attention. In Wyoming, the key thing in choosing a caliber is the availability of good high-BC bullets–the wind will own you out here. After seeing Sierra’s projected BC for the 175s this seemed to be a no brainer. So I told Chris to make the rifle a 7mm WSM.

Q: What were your objectives with this project rifle? Sounds like you wanted to build a state of the art long-range hunting rig?

Our goals were simple–we wanted a tack-driver with long-range capabilities, from 400 to 1000 yards. Really, at the time, the choice of the 7 WSM was easy–no one else was really doing it, and if they were, they weren’t talking about it. So we wanted to be the first make it work, one way or another. There were actually no real surprises or problems along the way, other than it was the first time I was shooting a 7mm and the accuracy of the 175gr bullets was better than I expected. I have total faith in Chris’s gunsmithing abilities. This 7 WSM is the sixth rifle he’s built for me–and they’ve all been tack-drivers.

Q: Give us your perspectives on living and shooting in Wyoming. What makes it such a great hunting ground? How do the game mix and terrain dictate your selection of a rifle?

My requirements for my rifles are, I guess, unique. I like tactical-style rifles. This “style” seems to fit my type of hunting here in Wyoming–tough, rugged terrain where you need to be able to make the long shot should one present itself. Living in Wyoming? Well, if you choose to live in the “out of town” places you need to be well-prepared and tough. Going to town means a 50-mile trip. You don’t just run to the convenience store if you need something. Plus the weather is hard in the winter and always windy. We joke that we have just two seasons, three months of summer and nine months of winter. Our spring and fall are each about two weeks long.

Despite the weather, Wyoming is a great place for a hunter. Game here is second to none: deer (whitetail and mulies ), antelope, elk, sheep, moose, plus varmints galore. What is great about my location is that I can shoot just about anytime I want. I have the ability to shoot as far as 3500 yards out my back door if I choose. Here’s a shot of my playground.

Putting It Together: Exceptional Components and Accurate Ammo

Q: Your 7 WSM has logged 10-shot groups at 1000 yards that could win many 1K benchrest matches. What kind of components does it take to deliver this kind of accuracy?

There is nothing super-exotic in this rifle, but it IS fitted out with some of the best components on the market. We did start with a factory action, however, a Remington 700 short action. Chris trued the action, added an SSG over-sized bolt knob, and fitted the action with a Broughton 5C, 9-twist #7 contour barrel finished at 24″. To reduce recoil we added a Badger brake. The stock is a fiberglass McMillan HTG (General Purpose Hunting) stock in Desert Camo. (This McMillan stock design replicates the original M40A1 Marine Sniper Rifle stock.) Since this is a repeater we added a Wyatts Mag Box. The gun features Badger bottom metal, Badger scope rail and Badger Rings. The Scope is a 4-16 Nikon Tactical, which, so far, has proven to be excellent. All the metal is Teflon-coated in Mil-Spec OD Green. I have a bubble-level mounted on the scope rail.

Q: To achieve the results you’re getting you must have exceptional hand-loads. What is your reloading procedure and do you have any “secret tips” to share?

I use Winchester-brand brass and Winchester Large Rifle Magnum primers. My current load is 64.0 grains of H4831sc for the Hornady 162s (2950 fps) and 61.0 grains of H4831sc for the Sierra 175s (2830 fps).

The only sizing dies I have used are the Basic Redding FL dies–I have since started using the Forester Ultra-Seater and used it when I shot the outstanding groups. My reloading technique is pretty basic. I full-length size and trim all to length. I use the RCBS powered Trim Mate™ station to do most of the brass prep. I do use the VLD case mouth deburrer. I uniform the primer pocket and chamfer as well. I then fire-form those prepped cases. I’ve noted that the new brass usually shoots just as well as fire-formed cases. I then use the FL die to bump the shoulder back .002″. I haven’t really noticed and major difference between Forester and Redding dies except price. I don’t have any “special” secret loading techniques. If you use quality components, I’ve found that you don’t need to weigh this weigh that etc. I tried that for years and it never really showed results to justify the time and effort. I quit doing all the weighing ( except for bullets ) and I shoot just as well. The two things I am anal about are the powder charge and seating depth–these all have to be exactly the same for each round!

I do take time to uniform the brass. First, when I get a bag of brass, I’ll check to make sure all the flash holes are centered, and I’ll pitch the ones that aren’t. Then I’ll measure the shortest case and trim all to that length (after ensuring that fits my chamber). Next, I’ll uniform the primer pockets, and debur and bevel the flash hole on both sides. Beveling both sides is one trick I think helps keep ES down. By beveling the flash side it basically takes the flash and tapers/funnels it to the hole. I think you get more consitency with the primer flash this way. Finally I’ll debur/champfer the inside and outside of the neck using a VLD chamferer.

After firing the cases once, I clean them all up and make one pass on the neck turner just to “clean” the necks to a consistient diameter. Note, I am not necessarily turning for a specific diameter because I have enough clearance to start with. I do this light turn just for consistency. Sometimes the neck turner might only shave a bit off one side.

Q: What’s your load-testing procedure? Do you have any special methods to evaluate/tune your loads?

Again, my methods are pretty simple. I start with the Sierra Load Manual, select the bullet weight, then find the max load for a recommended accurate powder. I like Hodgdon powders, so I start with an “H” powder with an appropriate burn rate, drop the “max” load about 0.5 grains and start there. Typically there is a sweet spot within half a grain up or down from that starting point. I usually seat my bullets to touch the lands or seat just in a bit. I feel this makes up for any bullet-run out when seating them.

When load-testing, I try to get 100-yard groups to be half an inch or less (quarter-MOA is pretty good for me, but not something I can count on regularly.) I then go to the 300- and 500-yard steel plates to see if the load holds its accuracy. If it does, then the load is good to go. However, I will shoot a 5-shot group every now and again to see if I am still in tune. In fact I was re-testing the 162gr A-Max and 175 gr SMK loads the day I shot the screamers at 1013 yards. Two great groups back to back.

Q: How does your 7 WSM perform in terms of recoil and accuracy? Has it met your expectations?

This rifle is by far one of the most fun rifles I have ever had. The recoil is very minimal with either of the loads and the rifle just plain flat-out shoots. The break-in took all of 21 rounds I think. This rifle shoots sub-2″ groups at 500 yards all day every day (often closer to 1″). Note that I don’t do any shooting from a bench and rests except for the initial load work up. The rest of the time I shoot from a bipod. I would really like to stress that I shoot exclusively with bi-pod and “sand-sock”. So many guys out there think that you have to shoot from a bench to get outstanding results. This simply isn’t true. If you are a disciplined shooter and have correct shooting techniques you can do amazing things from any shooting position. Long Range doesn’t have to be from a rest or bench!

What makes this rifle special is that it has an identical twin, built by Chris for my hunting partner Steve. Both rifles shoot exactly the same–same accuracy, same velocity, same trajectories. I never shot a 1K group with Steve’s gun, but at other distances, including 500 yards, it has performed identically to mine. I shot a sub-moa group of 12 shots one day with the Twins. I shot six shots from each rifle, alternating rifles between shots. Remember this is from the prone position and off a bipod–same load, two different rifles–and it produced a single, sub-MOA group. Now that’s consistency. Both these rifles I call point and shoot rifles–point them on target and they’ll shoot it.

Q: What technique do you use when shooting from bipod?

I basically do Froggy’s technique when shooting from a bipod. I get my natural point of aim, then push forward a bit to pre-load the bipod legs. In gripping the stock, I use just my two middle fingers to apply firm pressure straight back into my shoulder. I’m careful not to torque with the thumb or pinky finger. With my focus on the intended point of aim, I’ll let the cross hairs blur a bit and gently press the trigger until it goes boom. Then follow through, watch for the impact, and chamber the next round.

Looking Out to 1000 Yards, and the Results from Ric’s 7 WSM

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June 25th, 2019

Weatherby Opening in Wyoming Draws Big Crowd

Weatherby Sheridan Wymoing

Rifle-maker Weatherby Inc. has finalized its move to Wyoming, after leaving the politically hostile, high-taxation state of California. On June 13th, Weather had its official ribbon-cutting ceremony at its brand new facility in Sheridan, Wyoming. An estimated 5000+ visitors were in attendance. Weatherby’s directors are pleased with the move to Wyoming, which has many advantages for the company — not the least of which is getting away from the anti-gun policies of California’s corrupt, one-party-controlled state government.

“When you see the words ‘Sheridan, WY’ stamped in the side of a Mark V action, it just looks right. We are excited to see the beginning of our manufacturing in Sheridan, Wyoming”, says Adam Weatherby.

Weatherby Sheridan Wymoing

Adam Weatherby made an opening statement at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, praising how Wyoming has welcomed his company. There were plenty of VIPs at the event, including First Lady of Wyoming Jennie Gordon, Former Governor of Wyoming Matt Mead, and Mayor of Sheridan Roger Miller. During the day, factory tours were conducted, and the Weatherby Visitor Center was filled with guests viewing Weatherby historical items. Food trucks provided meals for visitors.

Goodbye California and Its Extreme Anti-Gun Policies
Is Weatherby’s Wyoming move all about dollars and cents? Not entirely. California has become increasingly hostile to firearms manufacturers. TheFireamRack.com’s Dan Zimmerman observes: “[Weatherby] wanted to do business in a state that isn’t at war with the very products they make. A state that respects the Second Amendment and won’t try to claw back every single cent it can wring out of businesses located there. So Weatherby made the entirely rational choice to take their company to a place that values what they do.”

Weatherby Wyoming

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March 11th, 2019

It’s Wyoming For Weatherby Now — Good Riddance California

Weatherby Sheridan Wymoing

Rifle-maker Weatherby Inc. is finalizing its move to Wyoming, after leaving the politically hostile, high-taxation state of California. Weatherby’s directors are pleased with the move, which has many advantages for the company — not the least of which is getting away from the anti-gun policies of California’s corrupt, one-party-controlled state government.

Weatherby is nearing the final steps in the move to Sheridan, WY from Paso Robles, CA. Weatherby manufacturing has established residency in its new Sheridan, Wyoming facility effective March 1, 2019.

“When you see the words ‘Sheridan, WY’ stamped in the side of a Mark V action, it just looks right. We are excited to see the beginning of our manufacturing in Sheridan, Wyoming.”, says Adam Weatherby.

Weatherby Sheridan Wymoing

Weatherby Sheridan Wymoing

Weatherby Leaves Hostile Political Environment
Is Weatherby’s Wyoming move all about dollars and cents? Not entirely. California has become increasingly hostile to firearms manufacturers. TheFireamRack.com’s Dan Zimmerman observes: “[Weatherby] wanted to do business in a state that isn’t at war with the very products they make. A state that respects the Second Amendment and won’t try to claw back every single cent it can wring out of businesses located there. So Weatherby made the entirely rational choice to take their company to a place that values what they do.”

Gold and Silver Weatherby Commemorative Rifles
The first firearms built in the new facility in Sheridan will be two Wyoming Commemorative rifles, the Gold and the Silver (see photo at top). Both versions will be chambered in .300 Weatherby Mag and will feature the “Bucking Horse and Rider” engraved on the floor plate. The Gold version will feature highly-figured, exhibition-grade walnut while the Silver version will feature AAA walnut. Both Gold and Silver stocks will feature a mountain scene integrated into the fine line checkering. The receivers are highly decorated with beautiful engravings. The Gold version will also have gold and silver barrel bands and will include a custom leather case. The Gold Commemorative cost $10,000.00 MSRP with serial numbers starting at WY000001. The Silver Commemorative costs $6,500.00 MSRP with serial numbers starting at WY000501.

SEE Weatherby videos at Wby-TV.com. Here’s a video featuring Weatherby’s new home state of Wyoming.

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December 2nd, 2017

Timney Triggers Donates $500,000 to Cody Firearms Museum

Cody Firearms Museum Timney Triggers

Timney Triggers has stepped up to help preserve the history of American firearms. Recently Timney pledged $500,000 to the Cody Firearms Museum renovation project. The Buffalo Bill Center of the West recently announced its plan to fully renovate the Cody Firearms Museum, opening Summer 2019. Total project cost is estimated at $12,000,000 to house the 7000+ firearms in the Museum’s collection. The National Endowment for the Humanities and Institute of Museum & Library Services have provided large grants. Notably, however, the Timney Triggers’ donation is the first substantial contribution from a major gun industry company.

Cody Firearms Museum Timney Triggers

The CFM is planning a two-floor renovation that will cater to both firearms enthusiasts and the general public. Currently, there are approximately 3,000 firearms on display. After renovation, the museum will boast over 4,500 firearms on display, multiple shooting simulators, and hands-on inter-active displays. According to CodyEnterprise.com: “The plan is to produce a special exhibit of the collection’s top 75 guns and sprinkle other firearms exhibits throughout the rest of the 325,000-square-foot museum. That includes placing guns in the Buffalo Bill Museum, the Draper Museum of Natural History, the Whitney Western Art Museum and the Plains Indian Museum.”

Cody Firearms Museum Timney Triggers

John Vehr, Owner of Timney Triggers, stated: “Our industry must support and appreciate the benefits derived from having the finest gun museum in the world educate hundreds of thousands of people who visit AND are new to guns, on the historical importance and the positive aspects of our industry.”

Cody Firearms Museum Timney Triggers
Public domain photo from WikiMedia Commons.

Curator of the Cody Firearms Museum Ashley Hlebinsky commended Timney Triggers: “When we set out to plan the new museum, we wanted to make sure that not only our historic roots were fostered in the new museum, but that we would acquire representation from newer companies or companies whose stories haven’t been told previously in museums, solidifying their place in history.”

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June 22nd, 2015

Handguns at 500, 750, and 1000 Yards in Wyoming

MOA long-range handgun match

The MOA Long Range Handgun Match was held June 18-20, 2015 near Sundance, Wyoming. This three-day event features handgun shooting at 500, 750, and 1000 yards. Shooters start at 500 on the first day, and then move to 750 on Day 2, and 1000 on Day 3. Sierra Bullets Media Relations Manager Carroll Pilant joined the action this year (as he has every year since the event’s inception). Here is his report…

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March 26th, 2015

If You Could Hunt Anything, Anywhere…. Where Would You Go?

This article originally appeared in the Sierra Bullets Blog
Get the Sierra Bullets tech staff together and you have an impressive brain trust, with a vast amount of knowledge about all things shooting- and hunting-related. We asked a variety of Sierra Bullets staffers, all avid hunters, about their favorite hunting venues. Here are their answers to the question: “If you could hunt anything, anywhere in the world, where would you go and what would you hunt?”

Photo courtesy Kirabo Safaris, South Africa.
Namibia Hunting safari

Africa topped the list of “dream hunting locations” by a landslide. Canada and Alaska were both picked twice, with other destinations each favored by one staffer:

Africa 6 votes (Kudu, Eland, Cape Buffalo, Leopard, Lion, Plains Game)
Canada 2 votes (Moose, Black Bear)
Alaska 2 votes (Dall Sheep)
Wyoming 1 vote (Antelope)
US Rocky Mountains 1 vote (Elk)
Argentina 1 votes (Doves)
Australia 1 vote (Non-specific)

Carroll Pilant (Ballistics Technician): “Back to Africa for kudu and eland.”

Rich Machholz (Ballistic Technician): “African Cape Buffalo with my longtime friend Lloyd in Zimbabwee.”

Tommy Todd (Chief Ballistician): “Free Range African plains game”

Matt Reams (VP Sales & Marketing): “Probably a leopard. Africa is cool to see and that is a pretty scary/dangerous hunt that would be very thrilling.”

Photo courtesy Namibia Hunting Safaris.
Namibia Hunting safari

Dan Mahnken (Production Resource Mgr.): “Africa and the African lion. More exciting that way it’s a 50/50 chance for both of us.”

Brad Vansell (Toolsetter): “Anything in Africa, or Australia.”

Philip Mahin (Ballistic Technician): “Canadian Moose”

Duane Siercks (Ballistic Technician): “What? I can’t make a list! My next hunt that I dream about would be to go to Canada for a very large black bear.”

Photo courtesy Alaska Dall Sheep Guides.
Namibia Hunting safari

Paul Box (Ballistic Technician): “Alaska – Dall Sheep.”

Craig Westermier (Machine Shop Lead): “Dall Sheep in Alaska.”

David Palm (Process Engineer): “Elk anywhere in the Rockies.”

Gary Prisendorf (Ballistician): “Doves in Argentina.”

Chris Hatfield (Production Manager): “Anything in Australia would be cool.”

Darren Leskiw (Plant Engineer): “I’ve been hunting one time near Douglas, Wyoming and it was beautiful country. I’d love to go back and spend more time there and tag another antelope.”

Hunting in Wyoming

SNS Outfitters & Guides is the largest pronghorn antelope outfitter in North America with over 750,000 acres of leased land. SNS boats a 96% success rate on antelope hunts.

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April 8th, 2014

NRA Long Range Hunting/Shooting School in Wyoming

The NRA Outdoors Long Range Hunting/Shooting School returns to the Queen Mountain Ranch in Evanston, Wyoming for three sessions (two in May and one in June). The Long Range Hunting One course teaches proven long range shooting techniques for long-range hunters. There are still a few spots offered for the May sessions, and a June session just openeed. Cost of the class, which includes meals and accommodation, is $2,000.

Video Shows 2013 Long Range Hunting/Shooting School

The Course will cover: Ammo selection, Range Estimation, Zeroing, Ballistics, Effects of Weather, Reading the Wind, MOA and other Reticle Calibration, Bullet placement on big game for high kill percentage, Alternate Shooting Positions, trigger control, Spotter Skills, When to engage a moving target. The course will also cover some general topics, such as: Firearms maintenance, Range Safety, Rifle Building, and Scope Theory.

NRA Outdoors Hunting Class Queen Mountain Wyoming

“The success of the first NRA Outdoors Long Range Hunting/Shooting School was a result of the combination of our excellent instructors [and] the first-class facilities at the Queen Mountain Ranch that made this class unlike anything else in the industry and a must for any serious western big-game hunter and shooter,” said NRA Outdoors President Greg Ray. The course offers access to a wide variety of terrain from the base location of Queen Mountain Ranch: “We have 1 million acres of terrain spread out over Wyoming and nearby Utah. We have all the angles covered: high desert, mountains, cross canyon and all points in between.”

NRA Outdoors Hunting Class Queen Mountain Wyoming

Available Course Dates
May 22-25 (1 spot open) (2 days of instruction)
May 26-29 (3 spots open) (2 days of instruction)
June 19-22 (14 spots open) (2 days of instruction)
Exact curriculum will be provided before the school starts along with the announcement on details of a shooting competition (at the request of 2013 students) at the end of the course!

Course fee of $2000.00 per student includes:
Airport Pickup (Salt Lake City)
Lodging at Queen Mountain Ranch
All Meals
Majority of optics gear
2 days of instruction

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January 12th, 2014

Magpul Moves Manufacturing Operations to Wyoming

Magpul leaves Colorado for WyomingAfter Colorado banned full-capacity magazines, Magpul Industries began looking for a more gun-friendly location. After considering various options, Magpul Industries has decided to move its manufacturing, distribution, and shipping operations to Cheyenne, Wyoming. The company said it plans to lease a 58,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution facility while a new 100,000-square-foot facility is being completed in Cheyenne. Magpul also plans to move its corporate headquarters to Texas. Magpul Industries currently employs over 200 people in Colorado, contributing over $80 million annually to Colorado’s economy. Colorado can kiss that $80 million goodbye, as Magpul plans to move virtually all operations to Wyoming or Texas.

Richard Fitzpatrick, Founder, President, and CEO of Magpul Industries, said that Magpul had no choice but to leave when Colorado outlawed Magpul’s “core products”. The company began a nationwide search for a new base of operations after legislation was enacted in Colorado that restricted the sale of firearms accessories — the core of Magpul’s business.

Magpul plans to transition 92% of its current workforce outside of Colorado within 12-16 months and will maintain only limited operations in Colorado. “Moving operations to states that support our culture of individual liberties and personal responsibility is important,” explained Fitzpatrick, who added: “This relocation will also improve business operations and logistics as we utilize the strengths of Texas and Wyoming in our expansion.”

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May 29th, 2013

7th Annual MOA Long Range Handgun Match in Wyoming

The 7th Annual MOA Cold Turkey Long Range Handgun Match will be held June 20-22 in Sundance, Wyoming. This is a 3-day Specialty Handgun competition with targets at 500, 750, and 1,000 yards. On the firing line, you’ll find a variety of precision handguns including the Remington XP-100, Savage Striker, MOA Maximum, Freedom Arm’s New Single-shot, as well as numerous custom and semi-custom rigs (typically set up with a 14″ to 18″ barrel, and muzzle brake). Popular cartridges include .243 AI, 6×47 Lapua, 6mm-284, and 6.5-284 Win. While many shooters use pistol scopes, in recent years, many competitors have switched to igher magnification rifle scopes. Sundance-based lead sponsor MOA Corporation is a respected maker of Specialty Handguns for hunting and target shooting.

CLICK HERE for Specialty Handgun Shoot INFO Flyer

MOA Specialty Pistol Shoot Wyoming

MOA Specialty Pistol Shoot Wyoming

Over the years, the MOA Specialty Handgun event has expanded to include new disciplines. There is now an IHMSA-style Freestyle pistol event, shot for group at 500 yards with categories for both iron (metallic) sights and scoped optics. In addition there is a popular “Roving Field Course” competition. This is a hunting-stalking-tactical style event shot on steel at distances generally from 300 to 600 yards. This Roving Field Course event is open to both individual and two-man shooter/spooter teams. You can use ANY handgun or optics type and any technologies to range targets and gauge wind speeds.

MOA Specialty Pistol Shoot Wyoming Prairie Dog

MOA Specialty Pistol Shoot Wyoming Prairie Dog

Two-Day Prairie Dog Shoot Before MOA Handgun Match
In conjunction with the MOA Shoot, on June 17-18, Ernie Bishop will host a two-day Prairie Dog shoot near Gilette, Wyoming. Located on a private ranch with a large prairie dog population, this shoot will afford a target-rich environment that is only occassionally hunted. This is open to pre-registered, paid participants for the MOA Long Range Handgun Match. The donation of $50 per shooter (covers both days) goes entirely to the landowner, as our token thank you for his generosity in allowing us access for this 2-day event. This is a fraction of what it would cost to go on a two-day PD Safari with a professional guide service. For more info, send email to ernieemily[at]yahoo.com or call Earnie at (307) 257-7431 (9:00 am – 6:00 pm Mountain Time).

MOA Specialty Pistol Shoot Wyoming Prairie Dog

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January 22nd, 2012

SHOT Show: Stukey Sturdy Shooting Bench

Stukey Shooting Bench

If you want a good, solid portable bench that doesn’t wobble, or move unpredicatbly from shot-to-shot, consider the Stukey Sturdy Shooting Bench. No it doesn’t spin, and it doesn’t have an attached seat. But the very simplicity of the Stukey bench is why it works so well. The legs lock up absolutely solid, and there is no attached seat to bounce the bench. As Royal told us: “I don’t like hookin’ my butt to my reticle”. If you have a seat attached to your bench, a slight movement of your body on the seat can impart a wobble to the bench top. That’s no good if you’re trying to shoot 1/4-MOA groups or hit varmints at very long range. As Royal says: “You’re never going to tag that 900-yard prairie dog is you have any wiggle in your bench. It just translates to too many minutes of angle out there.” Makes sense.

The Stukey bench has a patented leg attachment system — a floating nut plate/socket/collar arrangement that assembles quickly without tools. The patented connection provides a rock-solid lock-up between the legs and frame. And these benches are strong — check out the photo of Royal’s pick-up truck supported by four of his benches.

Stukey Shooting Bench

Currently, the Stukey bench does not have adjusting leg heights. However Royal says that the triangle leg design accommodates most terrain. He just takes a level with him into the field and adjusts the bench orientation until the top is not tilted. Stukey benchtops have cut-outs on both sides, so they fit both right- and left-handed shooters. Simply move the seat to your preferred side. Total bench weight is roughly 65 pounds (30 lbs. for the top and 35 lbs. for the legs.) For more info, visit Royal’s website, www.ShootingBenches.com. The Stukey bench costs $545.00 (without shooting stool).

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November 2nd, 2009

Hornady Team Wins Int'l Tactical Rifleman's Championship

Cooley Voight ITRC WyomingLate this summer, the International Tactical Rifleman’s Championship (ITRC) was held in Gillette, Wyoming at the Surefire Training Facility run by Dave Lauck. Team Hornady shooters Bennie Cooley and Michael Voigt captured their sixth ITRC win, besting 27 other teams, including Special Forces, law enforcement, and military personnel.

The match is a grueling three-day event held for teams of two marksmen. The event challenges each two-man team with multiple scenarios involving pistol targets to 50 yards, carbine targets to 500 yards, and precision rifle targets to 1,000 yards. One partner ranges and calls shots while the other shoots, with roles interchanged during the stages. Typically, the long-range rifle targets are at “unknown” distances, requiring ranging skills and excellent communication between spotter and shooter.

This year, the long-range field courses involved pistol, carbine, and rifle targets. First one or both team members engaged pistol targets out to 50 yards. Then, one shooter engaged the medium range (0-500 yards) carbine targets. Next his partner shot bolt-action rifle at targets from 0-1000 yards. In addition to the long-range stages, this year’s IRTC included a shorter-range (Gully) pistol + rifle event, a “Scramble” event for carbines with targets out to 550 yards, a timed Team vs. Team event, plus a 500-yard ‘Egg Shoot’ for bolt rifle.

CLICK HERE for a full ITRC Course of Fire and Rules

Cooley Voigt ITRC WyomingZak Smith of Thunder Beast Arms, who has competed at the ITRC, explains: “The D&L Sports Int’l Tactical Rifleman Championships (ITRC) is a 3-Gun match unlike conventional 3-Gun matches. The ITRC has field courses from 1 to 2.5 miles long which must be finished in times from 45 minutes to two hours by teams of two: a bolt rifle shooter, and a carbine shooter”.

All ITRC courses of fire demand movement from the team across varied rugged terrain and even obstacle courses. ITRC matches typically offer “shoot while moving” stages, which can include shooting from a raft on a lake, shooting from a helicopter in flight, or shooting from the back of a moving Humvee. Overall, the ITRC is a very challenging event that places exceptional demands on both equipment and shooter skills. Below is an ITRC highlight video showing event stages.

YouTube Preview Image

DISCLAIMER: This video (@ 4:00) shows two pistols that are covered in dirt or mud and then fired before the barrels were carefully checked for obstructions. This is a UNSAFE practice.

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February 12th, 2009

TechShooter's Black Hills Prairie Dog Adventure

Site contributor Chris Long (aka “TechShooter”) has crafted a report about his July, 2007 Prairie Dog Expedition in Wyoming. Ralph and Lenora Dampman of Trophy Ridge Outfitters served as guides for the trip. Trophy Ridge runs ‘Dog hunts near the town of Carlile in the NW range of the Black Hills, near Devil’s Tower National Monument. Primarily big game outfitters, Ralph and Lenora have access to thousands of acres of private ranch land. They run guided prairie dog hunts during their off-season. Chris reports “The terrain is beautiful, a welcome change from the South Dakota prairie, with lots of hills and Ponderosa pine trees. [These] ranch lands are home to some prodigious dog towns.”

Chris continues: “The goal of this trip (besides having a great time) was to get in some long range (1000+ yard) opportunities, and possibly even a shot over 1500 yards, in order to qualify for the VHA 1500 yard certification. I had worked up some really good loads for the 6.5-284 TubeGun and the .260 AI using the new 130 grain Berger VLDs, and wanted to see how they performed at these extreme ranges. I also wanted to see how the trusty 6 Dasher performed as a long range varmint cartridge.”

Black Hills Prairie Dog Hunt

Chris Long was joined by two friends who came all the way from Virginia. Chris reports, “Our plan was to get in four days of intense, long-range shooting. We were not disappointed! The shooting was from 100 to over 1000 yards, and the dogs were everywhere. There were plenty of targets close in, so there was a lot a variety. It is especially challenging to move in and out in range by these extreme amounts. It gave me a lot of practice estimating range and wind conditions, then seeing if I could get the come-ups and windage right on the scope for the first shot at the new range. By the end of the trip, I was getting it pretty close, with some 1-shot hits out to about 600 yards.”

Black Hills Prairie Dog Hunt

Chris’s primary long-range rifle was his 6.5-284 Tube-gun (photo above) running 130gr Berger VLDs at 3165 fps. Chris reports the 130s can be shot at 3165 fps with no excessive pressures, and “scary, one hole, 5-shot 100-yard group accuracy.” With a B.C. of about 0.6, the 130s shoot flatter and exhibit less wind drift than the 140gr class bullets at 2950 FPS.

Chris’s second gun was a more conventional bolt-action in a Franklin LowRider stock, set up with both 6mm Dasher and .260 AI barrels. Chris notes: “The Dasher has proven itself in spades as an extremely accurate cartridge for F-Class Open competition, and I was anxious to see how it performed as a varmint cartridge. The performance was excellent, with many hits out past 1000 yards. This rifle is set up as a switch-barrel rig, and is the platform for the 260 AI. I made a portable barrel vise that mounts in the trailer hitch receiver on the Suburban. That, with a rear entry action wrench, makes barrel changes a 5 minute affair. I would shoot until the barrel got a bit hot, then switch and proceed with the other caliber.”

CLICK HERE to read the complete story. It contains more load data, details of hits made out to 1330 yards, and many great photos of the Wyoming scenery. For .260 AI and 6 Dasher tech tips, visit TechShooter’s Shooting Pages.

Black Hills Prairie Dog Hunt

Photos and quotes copyright © 2007 Chris Long, All Rights Reserved, used by permission.

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